Imma Let Rick Perry Finish, But Texas Has The Highest Rate of Uninsured People of All Time!

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Yo Rick Perry, imma let you finish [your reign of terror on your constituents' health and well-being], but Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people of all time. All time!

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle, emphasis mine:

A new Gallup poll reports that Texas has the highest percentage of people ever recorded without health insurance at 28.8 percent.

The poll released Friday comes one year after the U.S. Census Bureau reported 24.4 percent of Texans lacked health insurance in 2011, the highest in the nation.

The Gallup data covering 2012 come as lawmakers debate whether to expand Medicaid, the health care program for the poor and disabled. Republicans who control the Legislature have rejected a federal offer under the Affordable Care Act of $100 billion in return for the state paying $15 billion over the next 10 years.

Everything is bigger in Texas, especially the number of souls Rick Perry will let perish for simple lack of access to quality, affordable medical care.

There's an easy solution: accept the federal Medicaid expansion to provide more low-income Texans with health insurance.

It's a sound and smart policy that will save state governments money and produce a healthier citizenry, which is why Republican Governors from Arizona, Ohio, New Jersey, North Dakota, and other states have accepted it. Instead, Rick Perry just wants to pass the cost for indigent care on down to local and county governments, who must absorb the cost of uninsured Texans using emergency rooms and free clinics for everything from primary care to expensive and preventable ailments.

It's clear from murmurings around the capitol and business community that many moderate Republicans (they're still around, but they're hiding behind crazed social issues for fear of losing a primary to someone who heard directly from various failed State Board of Education candidates that the earth is less than 7000 years old) think accepting the Medicaid expansion is inevitable.

Unfortunately, soon-to-be-former-Governor “Oops” won't do it, either out of misguided Presidential ambitions or pure spite against the low-income people of his state. Worst of all, the rate of uninsured will likely only increase due to Republican inaction, meaning that an eventual solution to the healthcare crisis in Texas will likely be even more expensive. In the meantime, we're shipping our federal tax dollars away to be spent on residents of other states that have governors eager and willing to insure their residents. And don't even get me started on how Perry's anti-family-planning agenda only increases the number of Medicaid births the state needs to pay for each year.

Thanks to Rick Perry, hard-working Texans and their children will continue to be denied basic medical insurance. It's a terrible policy decision, it's a moral outrage, and sadly, it's not the least bit surprising in Rick Perry's Texas.

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About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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